2017-18 Wesleyan Women's Basketball Season Preview

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

2017-18 SEASON OUTLOOK

The Wesleyan University women's basketball team looks poised to make a return to the NESCAC Tournament as it brings back nine players from last year's squad, including four of its top scorers and six of its top rebounders from 2016-17.

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Kate Mullen enters her 26th season at the helm of the program and is just 11 wins shy of 300 career victories as Wesleyan's head coach. Last year, she reached the 400-win mark overall, having served prior stints at Elms and Westfield State as well.

Mullen and the Cardinals will open the season this weekend with Salem State on Friday, Nov. 17 at the two-day RPI Tip-Off Tournament. Next week, in just their third game of the year, they will head to Amherst, Mass. to face the 2017 National Champion Mammoths in non-conference action. The 2017-18 slate features 11 home games, eight away games and four neutral site contests with NESCAC action beginning Friday, Jan. 5 at Williams. The Cardinals will also head to Nashville, Tenn. during the winter break for the two-day Music City Classic.

MEET THE TEAM

  • The team's leading scorer a year ago, guard Olivia Gorman '19, returns for her third season with the program. A three-sport athlete (women's soccer, softball), Gorman averaged 11.0 points per game as a sophomore coming off the bench and totaled double-figures in 12 of the team's 22 contests a season ago. She also tied a program record with 35 points in a game as she went 11-of-18 from the floor and 6-of-9 from downtown against Trinity.
  • Gorman will be joined in the backcourt by seniors Kadijah Mathews and Maeve Vitale, junior Chynna Bailey and sophomore Ava Tompkins. Mathews' role figures to increase significantly with the departure of Danielle Gervacio '17 to graduation, as she looks to build off her team-high 1.6 assists per game from last season. Vitale averaged 7.3 points per game and hit a team-high 44 three-pointers as a sophomore. She was also a force defensively and led the team with 1.9 steals per contest while averaging 5.4 rebounds per game.
  • The frontcourt will feature Maddie Bledsoe '18, Tara Berger '19 and Heidi Scarth '20. Bledsoe ranked second on the team with 5.6 boards per contest in 2016-17 and also averaged 7.5 points. Berger was one of the top forwards in the league a year ago and nearly averaged a double-double with 10.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest—second-best in the NESCAC. She also shot 42.7% from the floor to rank 12th in the conference, while her 31 total blocks were sixth-best. In the offseason, Berger also won the gold medal as a member of the USA team at the Maccabiah Games. Scarth, as a freshman, played in all 22 games and averaged 9.9 minutes per contest while grabbing 3.0 rebounds and blocking 0.6 shots. At 6-2, she figures to play a prominent role this season.
  • Mullen will also welcome newcomers Ericka Ekhator (center), Kathryn O'Connor (forward), Emma Roush (guard) and Rylee White (guard).

HEAD COACH KATE MULLEN

"The team has been working very hard since the completion of last season. Our seniors have led by example and have shown great leadership both on and off the court, along with our talented and experienced junior class. The sophomores will make a strong impact this season while the first year players bring talent and competitiveness to the squad. Both the players and coaches can't wait to tip-off this new season and are ready for a competitive non-conference schedule, our traditional Little Three rivalry, and the challenges that the NESCAC schedule will bring."